Japanese sound symbolism  

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Japanese has a large inventory of sound symbolic or mimetic words, known in linguistics as ideophones (Hamano 1998; Voeltz & Kilian-Hatz 2001). Sound symbolic words are found in written as well as spoken Japanese (Nuckolls 2004). Known popularly as onomatopoeia, these words are not just imitative of sounds but cover a much wider range of meanings (Hamano 1998); indeed, many sound-symbolic words in Japanese are for things that don't make any noise originally, most clearly demonstrated by しいんと shiinto, meaning "silently".

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